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A Stranger at Green Knowe Paperback – April 1, 2002
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Top Customer Reviews
Green Knowe books are best when Tolly and Mrs. Oldknow are both present, and at least this volume includes one of them, but the lack of anything supernatural seems to put the book out of kilter with the rest of the series, even though it's the most often recommended after the opening volume. Written at a time when gorillas were first being seriously studied and understood, it suggests that the author was herself so fascinated by them that she decided, willy-nilly, to write a book about them, and couldn't think of any place to put one except at Green Knowe. It's also, ultimately, a rather sad book, with an inevitably tragic climax, even though Ping does find a home with Mrs. Oldknow in the end. It *is* necessary to have read it in order to understand part of what happens in the following volume, but it should definitely not be read as an introduction to the series, since it has very little in common with them but its setting.
The story shows the lives of two refugees, with many parallels in their lives. One is a young human torn form an Asian rainforest - the other is a young gorilla torn from the rainforests of Africa.
It will put you off concrete surfaces for life.
I then went on to read the other Green Knowe stories and was drawn mostly to the one called Enemy at Green Knowe. Why? Because that's the one where the gorilla from "Stranger" is called briefly back to life.
No child should grow up without Stranger on their shelves. And many of the others from this series also.
But the story begins long before this, in the Congo, where a young gorilla is separated from his family and captured in order to make the long journey from his tropical home to the concrete realm of the Zoo. In one of the most evocative descriptions of gorilla life and enviroments I've ever read, Boston sets the scene for the story to come with descriptions such as: "even at noon the jungle is like a heavily curtained room", and "thunderstorms worthy of the beginning of the world". If you have discovered Boston's incredible use of language in her previous books, then this one won't fail to disappoint.
When Ping and Hanno the gorilla first meet at the Zoo, there is an instant connection bordering on the spiritual. It therefore seems almost fate that when Hanno goes missing from the Zoo (escaping via a clumsily locked door) it is at Toseland Thicket that Ping finds him. Drawing on what must have been carefully researched facts about gorillas and their lives (not suprising since the book was written when gorillas were first being seriously studied), Boston creates an utterly realistic bond between boy and gorilla.
But an escaped gorilla is big news, and the authorities cannot be drawn away for long, despite Ping's best efforts.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I love all the Green Knowe books. this one is the least like the others, and so sad I would not give it to a child. Wonderful writing though.Published 16 months ago by catman
A stranger at Green Knowe is an amazing story of a Burmese orphan boy, Ping, lost and isolated in a London orphanage, and Hanno, a gorilla in the London Zoo. Read morePublished on January 17, 2014 by James Sterling
I read these when I was a kid and loved them. My mum sent me one of the books recently and I read it and wanted to get the whole series for my grandchildren. Each book is great. Read morePublished on September 28, 2013 by E. Axe
The eponymous stranger may be a primate, but he's no human.
A Stranger at Green Knowe begins in equatorial Africa amongst a family of gorillas, far from the beloved... Read more
I seldom give such high praise to any book. Evidently Boston's books were well known years ago, but I heard of the Green Knowe books only recently when Gregory Maguire (author of... Read morePublished on May 1, 2013 by Lynne Pfeiffer
I just discovered the Green Knowe books, and they are fantastic. As an adult lover of children's stories, I was pleasantly surprised to find a series that I had completely missed... Read morePublished on May 26, 2007 by Just4Me